[spinning] Fiber Goals

While I wait for the sun to come out to take more handspun pictures, I wanted to share some fiber goals.

Goal #1 - Use my drum carder

I got a drum carder a few months ago and I didn't take it out of the box until last night. I bought it second-hand which saved me a bundle (bonus: it had never even been used) but there were a couple things missing- a doffer pin and table clamps.

I ordered two table clamps from Louet and they are on their way. As for the doffer pin, it's about $35 and it looks like a screwdriver that comes to a point. I went out to hardware stores looking for extra long ice picks and awls but guess what works just as well? A knitting needle. I chose to use an old aluminum one that never gets used for knitting.

There are many helpful YouTube videos on "using your drum carder" and from what I saw, having a burnishing tool was completely necessary. It looks like a hand carder and it costs $55. Again, looking for a cheaper alternative (and with the help of the Ravelry forums), I heard that a wallpaper smoothing brush works just as well.

Let me save you some time. LaValley's doesn't have one. Home Depot doesn't have one. Sherwin Williams (hidden between Wal-Mart and The Weathervane on 12-A) had two. I chose the one with shorter bristles. It cost less than $5.

Back at home, I took some 1 oz packets of fiber meant for needlefelting and started carding. It went... Okay. Except for the carder slip-sliding all over the table (where are those damn table clamps?!). It is cool being able to blend colors and make your own heathery shades.

Goal #2 - Navajo ply all my leftover singles for practice.

I love the way three-plies look but spinning three bobbins is tiresome.

Goal #3 - Use my Woolee Winder.

Dollar got me a Woolee Winder for my birthday and two bobbins. I know. I had to order another bobbin (learning the WW and N-plying at the same time would have been too much). I did try it once and it was a nightmare. It took the yarn in before it had enough twist so the single kept feathering apart. It totally sucked. Some people have recommended going to Scotch tension (I'm on double-drive), so I could try that.

Goal #4 - Spin for singles.

As in, spin for yarn that is a single, not a 2- or 3-ply. I think this is where whacking the finished yarn really helps to spread/even out the twist.

Goal #5 - Spin enough yarn for a sweater.

Hhaa hahaha hahahahaha. I mean, I have the gigantic bag o' yarn in my closet but... Wait, gimme a minute, I'll think of an excuse here in a sec... Okay, my goal will be to spin it all before this year's Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival.


gayle said...

Yeah, the drum carder sliding around will make you crazy... I don't think mine has a table clamp option. Grrr.
I've done more than a little Navaho plying, but I think it would be easier with 3 hands. Possibly 4. I can't seem to catch a rhythm that keeps my twist consistent. I'm interested to see if you have any better luck.
I spun 1400+ yards of 3-ply Cotswold last summer and fall. My carrot-on-a-stick to finish it was a pair of alpaca fleeces. I made myself not touch the alpaca until I'd finished the Cotswold. Alpaca is a very powerful motivator!

Joan said...

Spin, girl, spin! The best thing to do when the temps are stuck at zero is surround yourself with wool. ;-p

Sarah said...

Thanks for the tips about fixing up a used drum carder. I am getting one from a friend in trade and assume it will be in working order, but want to keep it working that way too. Now to pick up a used spinning wheel...
When you get around to spinning or blending the llama fiber, let me know how that turns out. After the March shearing I should have enough black sheep+llama to start blending it together.